Following the format of weeks past, this week’s episode of The Walking Dead, “Prey,” was somewhat of a departure/day trip episode, involving Andrea fleeing Woodbury with The Governor chasing after her and subsequently holding her prisoner. However, it was a far less successful episode than the other ones, in that (a) Andrea is not quite interesting or sympathetic enough to focus on, (b) Woodbury seems ridiculously close to the prison again, and (c) promising characters like Tyreese and Milton are poorly used. That being said, yes, nothing really happened. The only character from the prison, Rick, barely had any screen time and Andrea remains in deep shit with The Governor. Tyreese remained The Governor’s patsy. The Governor remained pretty crazy. Nothing progressed, which, quite frankly, it should have since there is a huge war looming between crazy dictators Rick and The Governor.
We open with a flashback of Andrea and Michonne during their relatively idyllic time as a wandering, zombie fighting duo. Not to harp, but the woods seemed a lot bigger then, didn’t they? Those ladies were wandering around for episodes on end and they shockingly never ran into either the giant prison or the giant Woodbury, which are both apparently right next door to one another. Some brief backstory is revealed on the part of Michonne when Andrea asks if Michonne knew her zombie pets – apparently she did, and they weren’t all that nice in life. Girl bonding!
Cut to the most awkward transitional shot into the present day of The Governor testing out the shackles/chains attached to the wall that one would assume he plans to torture Michonne with. He actually looks like he is having a great time – boy, those chains are sure durable! This juxtaposition of shots (Andrea/Michonne with The Governor) is just so glaringly artless. Yes, this is television. But, really? Honestly, I think the director of the episode (Stefan Schwartz) might have thought this was supposed to be menacing – The Governor posing to permanently destroy the the beautiful camaraderie. The end result, however, is a sloppy preface to an otherwise boring episode.
The one glimmer here is Milton, of course – Dallas Roberts is always a delight as our nebbishy “scientist.” Yay for screen time! Though as delightfully nebbishy as Milton may be, he really should learn how to do a better poker face (take a cue from Norman Reedus’ bestie, Lady Gaga). Without saying anything to The Governor, he pretty much admits, via his face falling, that he both conferred with the about-to-escape Andrea and that he burned the pit of walkers that were going to be used as ammo against the prison (more on that later). Grow a pair, son! So, Milton’s obviously going to die this season… which is a shame because Roberts is awesome.
So, yeah, most of the episode was Andrea running through the woods from the truck driving The Governor. This chase situation went on for a while… really not too much to say about that.
Back at Woodbury, some minor shit went down. Tyreese and Sasha question the morals involved with using zombies as weaponry… and Martinez then implicates them as possible turncoats. But not so! Even though they seemed to be early beacons of interesting characterization and sound thinking, Tyreese and Sasha make it known – on several occasions in this episode – that they want to stay. Hmm… okay. This is especially sad because Tyreese was a rather compelling character in the graphic novel. Chad L. Coleman is great as Tyreese, and would have had a lot to offer the show if his character was as strong and as integral a character on the TV show. He’s not, though – and he definitely could have been. So there’s a missed opportunity.
Anyway, because the forest is so small now, Andrea reaches the prison relatively quickly. All this after an F-List horror film, involving Andrea turning around to find – damn it! – The Governor is still on her tail! They also go into an abandoned house, where the same stuff happens – more narrow misses! – and she eventually escapes by letting a hoard of zombies loose on him. As luck would have it, the moment she gets to the prison and spies Rick on the lookout (good idea, since he sees ghosts), The Governor pops out and gets her on the ground… she later ends up tied to a chair in a mysterious location. Huh. Perhaps love between her and The Governor will conquer all, though, yeah, that’s not happening.
This episode tried to overcompensate its boring nature by bringing it with cool zombie deaths. As alluded to earlier, a mysterious party (aka Milton) set the zombie pit ablaze, leaving a pile of wreathing, singed zombies. Very cool. Also, in the abandoned house whilst chasing Andrea, The Governor wailed on a zombie’s head with a shovel, smashing it like a rotten jack o’ lantern. Also cool. Shame said coolness wasn’t a universal trend this week.
The Upside: Burned up zombies look cool, cutting a zombie’s head in half with a shovel looks cool…
The Downside: …but an entire episode that’s pretty much The Governor chasing Andrea around that apparently small forest connecting Woodbury and the prison? Not that cool.
On the Side: The Walking Dead should take a cue from this ever-so-suspenseful Kids in the Hall sketch, that also involves zombies.